Netanyahu peres combo 370.
(photo credit: GPO)
I welcome the Maccabiah Games, one of the world’s largest sporting events, to
Israel once again. The games were the dream of a 15-year-old boy called Yosef
Yekutieli. Today, we celebrate 80 years of Maccabiah games and they will be the
biggest and most competitive games yet.
The story of the Maccabiah
mirrors the story of the State of Israel – a reality that far exceeded the
dreams of the founders. The Maccabiah is a symbol of our nation and of our
people. We may be small in size but we are great in spirit. The Maccabiah
exemplifies the best of the Jewish people; a passion, a willingness to work hard
and to compete but more than anything else a brotherhood.
As we run,
jump, swim and compete against one another we do it knowing that we are all one
people. While for the duration of the games we may compete as nations, for
eternity we will be united in our peoplehood.
To the athletes I say our
country loves you. You should feel at home here because Israel will always be
your home. The Maccabiah slogan of “Sound Jewish Minds in Healthy Jewish Bodies”
was the ethos on which this country was built, combining the strength of the
mind with the strength of the body.
Israel is a story of human
achievement and you are now part of that story.Shimon Peres, President of Israel
I welcome you to the opening of the 19th Maccabiah Games in
In the 1930s, when the idea of a Jewish sporting event began
to take shape, it was a revolutionary idea. Since the first Maccabiah in 1932,
the event has become a strong tradition among world Jewry.
Games are a competitive sporting event – yet there is so much more to
The Maccabiah is a unique Jewish and Zionist assembly, bringing
thousands of Jewish athletes from dozens of countries around the world to
I wish you all success in your sporting events, and I hope that
you take advantage of being here to learn more about Israel and get to know our
Sincerely, Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel
This spectacular world-embracing sports celebration, also known as the “Jewish
Olympics,” is the greatest meeting point of world Jewry, and a joyous display of
sport at its best. It is a Jewish-Zionist event of huge proportions and
significance, expressing the solidarity of the Diaspora with the State of
Israel, and with the difficult challenges it faces.
The members of the
six confederations of the Maccabi movement – including Maccabi Israel – who
organize these impressive Games have worked with dedication for decades, placing
special emphasis on the education of our youth, on drawing them closer to their
Judaism, to Zionism and to the State of Israel.
Many of the athletes who
have come here over the years to participate in the Games have returned as new
immigrants, and made Israel their home. They, and some of their children as
well, are participating in the Maccabiah today as members of the Israeli
delegation. Leaders of the Maccabi World Union tend to build second homes in
Israel, thereby binding their fates to ours.
The Ministry of Culture and
Sports worked with the intention of hosting the 2013 19th Maccabiah Games in
Jerusalem, to reinforce its position as the united, eternal capital of Israel
and the Jewish people. Exposing the athletes to the city may encourage their
Aliya to Israel. Of course, holding major Maccabiah events in Jerusalem will
also make an economic contribution to the city and its residents. I believe that
this is an important step in turning Jerusalem into a major city for hosting
additional international sporting events in the future.
Just the thought
that, in 1932, in the first Maccabiah Games, about 400 athletes from 18
countries participated, and that this year, approximately 9,000 Jewish athletes
from 72 countries will take part, awakens great national pride and joy – and
optimistic curiosity about future Maccabiah Games.
For all this and more,
I would like to thank the heads of the Maccabiah, and the many organizers and
volunteers who have contributed to its success.
In addition, to the
athletes and their support staffs – my very best wishes to you all!
Livnat, Minister of Culture and Sports